The tables (unfortunately) have turned for job seekers across the country. Millions of Americans are out of work and are now scrambling to find a new job opportunity. The result has been a surge of applicants for employers of all shapes and sizes. What was once a candidate-driven market is now a job market where employers and hiring managers are in the driver seat. So, if you are one of the many hiring managers receiving an influx in applications, here is how to sift through all of these terrific candidates efficiently.
Focus on skillsets
It is tempting for hiring managers and HR professionals to refine the job applications they have received by eliminating “overqualified” candidates. This is a huge mistake! Thanks to the coronavirus, the unemployment rate is currently 11.1%. Therefore, you will likely get applicants from all different types of backgrounds. So, instead of throwing out an application because someone is “over-educated” or has “too much experience,” focus on skillsets.
If you are the hiring manager, you know what skills are crucial for your open position. Thus, when reviewing applicants, identify candidates that have these must-have skills. This will help you sift through your mountain of candidates and reach out to those who appear to have what your team needs.
Take a close look at applicants’ cover letters
After you filter through the candidates that appear to have the essential skillsets, pair down your applicant pool by cover letters. Many candidates underestimate a cover letter’s power – it gives you a platform to sell yourself and explain all of your qualifications, skills, and passion. If an applicant submits a cover letter with their resume, it shows that they are serious about your opening. Take a few minutes to read through their message. It will be well worth your time as it will give you much more insight into their background, qualifications, and personality. If they go the extra mile in today’s economic climate to write a cover letter for you, you should at least take a moment to review it.
Look for experience outside of your industry
Many hiring managers would prefer candidates that have experience within the same industry as your company. Sure, hiring someone with industry experience might be helpful in certain situations; however, have you thought about the value of bringing someone in who doesn’t have the same industry experience? They may be able to bring different perspectives to the table. This can help your company approach issues that your team has never thought about. And just because they don’t have industry experience doesn’t mean they don’t have the necessary background to do the job. Like we discussed above, focus on skillsets, not getting lost in the nitty-gritty of their qualifications.
So, there you have it. A few simple methods you can utilize to help your team handle a surge of applicants. However, if you are a job seeker looking for some help navigating this challenging job market, here are a few steps you can take to stand out in a sea of applicants.